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iOS 9.3 to launch today with fix for iMessage security flaw (Updated: It is out now)

by Jacob Kleinman | March 21, 2016March 21, 2016 7:30 am PST

Update: The update is live now, check your device for the iOS 9.3 update.

Apple’s encryption may not be as tough as we thought. Researchers at John Hopkins recently found a way to access videos and images sent over iMessage, the company’s supposedly secure messaging service. Thankfully, Apple already has a way to fix ready in iOS 9.3The Washington Post reports.

To hack into iMessage, the researchers had to make software resembling an Apple server so they could intercept messages. From there, it was relatively easy to crack the 64-bit encryption on attached photos and videos. Johns Hopkins used a “brute force” attack since iMessage doesn’t lock you out after multiple attempts like iOS does.

Before revealing the hack to The Washington Post, the same researchers shared their work with Apple directly. That gave the company plenty of time to plug the security hole. The problem was mostly fixed with the release of iOS 9 last year. It will be completely patched by iOS 9.3, which Apple plans to release later today.

“We appreciate the team of researchers that identified this bug and brought it to our attention so we could patch the vulnerability,” Apple said. “Security requires constant dedication and we’re grateful to have a community of developers and researchers who help us stay ahead.”

Once iOS 9.3 hits the contents of your iMessage chats should be secure again. Until then, maybe hold off on sending any sensitive videos or photos over the service.

Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...